Fairytale Bavaria & Danube Cruise 2019 Great Rail Journeys

Bavaria's magnificent castles, mysterious forests and magical mountains are the backdrop to this majestic tour, uncovering many hidden gems in the historic kingdom of Bavaria. Discover fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle and ride the Bavarian Zugspitz Mountain Railway, from a base in the charming village of Fussen.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Itinerary

Meet a Great Rail representative at London's St Pancras International for the Eurostar service to Paris. Here, cross the city and catch the local train to Stuttgart for a night at the Maritim Hotel.

This morning, journey via Ausburg to Füssen by rail, where you will spend the next two nights at the Luitpold Park Hotel. This afternoon you will enjoy an excursion to two of the finest Bavarian castles, beginning at honey coloured Hohenschwangau Castle before visiting glorious Neuschwanstein Castle. One of the most iconic examples of its kind, it was famously the inspiration for Walt Disney's Cinderalla Castle. Built into the mountains and standing proudly above the surrounding forests, its turrets and halls are resplendent white against a backdrop of green.

Today you ascend the tallest mountain in Germany, the noble Zugspitze. To reach the summit, we first board the remarkable Zugspitze Railway, then the final leg of this journey is taken by cable car. On your descent back down, you stop at beautiful Lake Eibsee before returning to Füssen.

Following breakfast, you drive to Munich for the train to Budapest. On arriving in Budapest, you will meet the Amadeus Queen and are welcomed with a cocktail in the lounge before dinner. Later take in the illuminated sights as you sail around the city. You are also treated to a performance from a local Hungarian folk band in the lounge.

This morning, enjoy a guided coach tour, introducing you to Budapest's main sights. You will pass impressive buildings and monuments on both sides of the Danube, including the neo-Gothic Parliament building, the magnificent State Opera House and St Stephen's Basilica, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church and Fishermen's Bastion. You will return to the ship for lunch, after which you have some free time before you begin cruising to Bratislava. Your departure time means you arrive at the scenic Danube Bend just as the sun sets. This section of the river has a long and fascinating history and from the sun deck or panoramic windows in the bar, you'll be able to see castle ruins, churches, pretty houses hidden in the hills and dense forests, all soaked in the golden glow of twilight.

Your morning is at leisure aboard before you moor up early this afternoon. After lunch, you set out on a guided coach tour of Slovakian capital. Located in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, Bratislava straddles the Danube which neatly divides the city into two parts; the Baroque Old Town (Stare Mesto) and the new city. This picture-postcard city destination historic Gothic buildings, several universities, a wealth of museums and galleries, and a refreshing cosmopolitan atmosphere. The historic centre features delightful cobbled stoned roads, pedestrianised plazas, pastel 18th century rococo buildings and street cafés galore. Following your excursion, you return to the ship for another delicious, 5-course dinner.

After a calm night of cruising, you arrive into glorious Vienna, for a comprehensive sightseeing tour. This is a chance to relish in Austria's Imperial heritage, one full of tradition and rich in architectural, artistic and musical heritage. You'll see many of Vienna's finest ornate buildings, including the impressive Hofburg Palace. This vast complex of buildings demonstrates the awesome power and wealth commanded by the Habsburgs. You'll also take in the impressive Opera House, one of the leading opera venues in the world, as well as the grand Parliament Building. Tonight a real treat awaits you on board, where after dinner you are joined by musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for an exclusive, private recital. Be whisked away by the music as you immerse yourself in this singularly exceptional experience, as the Vienna Philharmonic is one of the most popular and skilled orchestras in the world.

Today you reach Austria's Wachau Valley, a famous wine-making region. You arrive in the idyllic village of Dürnstein where you have time at leisure. As you sit down to lunch on board you begin cruising along the picturesque Wachau Valley, an extremely scenic area with green valleys and vineyards rising up from the river, picturesque riverside towns, and commanding fortresses with sweeping views. You then journey by coach to Melk Abbey, enjoying entrance to this 11th century Benedictine Abbey which stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube and is home to the Abbey Church, considered one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps.

On Day 8 you disembark in Linz, where you have a choice of excursions. You could head further into the countryside for a day spent amidst the spectacular scenery of the Austrian lakes. Make stops in UNESCO listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its traditional pastel-coloured houses perched on the tiny plain between the mountains and Hallstättersee Lake, as well as Mondsee. This pretty town is set on the lake of the same name, and its most famous sight is the 15th-century parish church, which featured in the wedding scenes of 'The Sound of Music'.

Otherwise, travel by coach to Salzburg, via Mondsee, one of Austria's most famous cities and known as the birth place of Mozart. A guided sightseeing tour reveals the city's internationally renowned Baroque architecture, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You rejoin the ship in Passau

Regensberg is our port of call this morning, which we explore on foot. This medieval town contains many buildings that testify to its history as a trading centre and to its influence on the whole region from the 9th century onwards. Back on board tonight, we attend the Captain's gala dinner, a chance to don our evening-wear and celebrate our cruise experience.

On Day 11 you disembark after breakfast to start the journey back home via Cologne, where we spend the night. On Day 12 you complete your journey back to London.

Price Guide

Date Price (pp)
06 May 2019 £2,295
20 May 2019 £2,295
10 June 2019 £2,295
24 June 2019 £2,295
10 September 2019 £2,295
22 September 2019 £2,195

What's Included

  • All rail and coach travel throughout your tour and a fully escorted return journey by rail back to London
  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from London to Budapest and from Passau to London
  • Exclusive meeting point at a dedicated Great Rail Departure Office in St Pancras
  • 4 nights' hotel accommodation and a 7-night cruise onboard Amadeaus Queen
  • 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 11 dinners
  • Hohenschwangau Castle & Neuschwanstein Castle and Lake Eibsee
  • The Bavarian Zugspitze Railway
  • Tour Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Melk Abbey and Regensburg
  • Cruise the Danube Bend and through the Wachau Valley
  • Enjoy an on board recital from members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra & a Hungarian folklore show
  • Unique flexible excursions allowing you to choose how you spend your day with options including: Tour of Salzburg and an excursion to the Austrian Lake District